Capital Celluloid 2023 — Day 25: Wed Jan 25

King Lear (Godard, 1987): Cine Lumiere, 6.10pm

This is a 35mm presentation and part of the Jean-Luc Godard season at Cine Lumiere. You can find all the details here. The screening will be preceded by a talk by Professor Garin Dowd (University of West London).

New Yorker review:
The cinema is born of two things, invention and sacrifice. On Easter Sunday, Jean-Luc Godard—as Professor Pluggy, a solitary inventor striving to reinvent the image—makes the petals pop back onto the flowers of spring through the miracle of reverse photography and expires from the effort. Thus is the cinema reborn, the natural order restored—and thus, in the first image of this new cinema, Cordelia (Molly Ringwald) dies, her body stretched on a boulder by the shores of Lake Geneva, as, with his back to her, Lear (Burgess Meredith) beholds the wonders of nature that have made it so. The cinema is born of three things: invention, sacrifice, and mourning. This 1987 film is Godard’s maximally pressurized condensation of his great themes: his manifesto of the image; a lost world of artistic culture, and, of course, of cinema; the hazardous bonds of paternity. The casting alone proclaims the magnitude of his ambition: not only Meredith and Ringwald but Norman Mailer and his daughter Kate, Julie Delpy, Woody Allen, and, decisively, Peter Sellars as William Shakespeare, Jr., the Fifth, sent by the Queen of England to rediscover the works of his ancestor, which were lost along with all culture in the wake of Chernobyl. This comic setup mocks the notion of filming “King Lear” as if it were a ready-made screenplay. There is no film of “King Lear”—indeed, no act of art—that is not a rediscovery, no image of nature that is not a resurrection.
Richard Brody

Here (and above) is an extract.

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